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May 12, 2002

The Cost of the Bullets

Dear Squad Members:

In the People's Republic of China, the government, after it executes a criminal, bills the deceased's family for the expenses of the execution. It itemizes the cost of the bullets used by the firing squad. But that is what we would expect from the PRC; we don't expect it to have a conscience or to behave in a civilized way. In the District of Columbia, the government, after it kills a mentally retarded patient in a group home by neglect, bills the patient's family for the cost of the mistreatment that killed him. But that is what we expect from the government of the District of Columbia.

Our government's policy, set and being carried out in our names and on our behalf, is to use the threat of legal lawsuits seeking payments in order to pressure and harass the families of the victims that it destroyed by medical and social service malpractice. The theory is that we, through our government, can forestall these families' petitions for a fair and just compensation by bullying them with the threat of legally bankrupting them. We'll abandon our demands on them if they give up seeking reimbursement from us. The lawyers in the Corporation Counsel's Office and Mayor Williams think that strong-arming victims' families is a smart way to save money. Doesn't it make you proud to be a citizen of DC?

The official statement confirming the government's policy was released by City Administrator John Koskinen on April 30, 2002: The latest newspaper story summarizing this outrage is in today's Washington Post: The Post and the Times have both editorialized against this practice, and twelve of the thirteen Councilmembers have urged Mayor Williams to come to his senses and stop it. If you have an opinion on this subject, you may want to write to Mayor Williams yourself; his E-mail address is

Gary Imhoff 


Gunfire at Night
Bryce A Suderow, 

For about two years, I haven't heard gunfire at night, but for the past two months I often hear it. Last Friday night I heard five or six shots and the cops never came. I live at 9th and E, NE, on Capitol Hill. Has anyone else heard gunfire? And is this a new trend?


It Takes a Lot of Gall
Ed T. Barron, 

Ward 3 activist Erik Gaull (never heard of him in my fifteen years in Ward 3), has more than a lot of gall to challenge Councilperson Kathy Patterson. Looks to me like he's on a mission from Mayor Williams to unseat a very good Councilmember who happens to be all over Mayor Williams case when it comes to budgets, accountability, and not doing the right things right. Gaull is on a fool's errand, since Kathy has earned the right to be reelected and should win easily next November. I'll campaign for Kathy.


Nonsecurity at MLK Library
Paul Williams,

I think I've identified one of the easiest city jobs in Washington City government: front door security guard at MLK Jr. Library at 9th and G. I have been conscious of their (non) efforts at the front entrance years before 9/11, but have been carefully watching it ever since as asked, and needed, in our Nation's Capital. (Un) Safe to say, it's pathetic. I've never, ever, even once heard the metal detector gone off, and as a researcher, I use the library several times a week, every week. I have passed through the “security” with myriad combination of car keys, metal watch, metal belt buckle, palm pilot, Swiss Army knife, and enough nickels (required for the microfilm machines) in my pockets to set off interest even from a child with curiosity, but the result? Never a buzz from the machine. It's almost a game with me, a mere citizen testing the system with an ever increasing cache of metal items. More often than not, nobody is even near, much less watching, the screen attached to the conveyor belt.

Obviously, this needs to be addressed, ASAP. On Thursday, May 9th, at 12:25 p.m., I walked through with all sorts of personal items on my body that should have sounded the alarm; nothing. The worse part? I dutifully placed my briefcase on the conveyor belt accompanying the "metal detector." I walked through, and who was there to survey the contents? Zip. Nobody. Its the eighth time I have mentally documented that nobody, yep, no human, is there behind the machine reading the contents of the conveyor belt. Not that I have faith in it working either, but at least somebody could be there looking the part. The closest a “security” personnel was a good twenty feet away, laughing and joking with a fellow (shall I dare to say paid) “guard” not even noticing I was venturing into the nation's capital's main library completely unchecked.

And while researching in the Washingtoniana Division, I was informed that a vertical file on a street history I requested was stolen and thus, unavailable. I have had several items taken from my surroundings while researching at the library, and discovering that fact within minutes, confronting the security guard at the entrance, who responded, guess what? “Sorry, fella,” never saw anyone leave with your coat, umbrella, scarf, etc. Has anyone on themail even ventured into the bathrooms of our premier city library? That's another issue. In any event, I also frequently research at other institutions such as the Library of Congress, National Archives, and perhaps most easy to compare, Alexandria Public Library. I have no problem with being both intensely searched and investigated at entrance and at exit, and both welcome and anticipate the need. Our main DC library needs to at least pretend to uphold the same standards, and should take a serious control of its holdings, as well as the safety of those residents and visitors that use the institution.


Just the Facts, Ma’am
Ed T. Barron, 

There's a lot of whoopdedoo about getting a Major League baseball team in DC. On paper this looks good for DC, but if one were to examine some real facts a relocated Major League team in DC would likely die on the vine. It might be better attendance than the situation in Montreal, but over the long term this will not produce the benefits to justify the costs. There are a few significant facts that have been overlooked amidst all the hype and hoopla. Here's just a few: 1) attendance at major league games is on a substantial downtrend. This will likely continue and be exacerbated by any union and baseball contract problems later this year. 2) A stadium in Washington will not be a big fan draw. Look at other major league baseball cities that have large minority populations (e.g., St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles). Go to ball games there and count the number of minorities. You'll find a very, very small percentage of minorities in the stands. Minorities go to basketball games and soccer games, not baseball. 3) How many folks will come to a stadium located in DC, even one located near a Metro station? Tons of folks living nearby in VA have never been to DC and would never drive into DC (good move not to ever drive in DC). 4) Ticket prices have gone out of sight as journeyman ballplayers command annual salaries averaging $7M.

Baseball in the Washington area is not a bad idea. Efforts, however, should be made to establish a really good minor league team and to build a new, small, stadium that will draw fans from all the surrounding communities. Look at the success of the Frederick Keys. They draw lots of fans, have modest ticket prices that encourage whole families to come to the ball park. The players are not overpriced and overpaid, and seem to really enjoy playing the game as a team. Hey, we could name the team the Potomacs (or will that draw out the ire from native Americans?).


Progressive Democrats to Challenge Mayor Williams’s Team
Arthur H. Jackson, Jr., 

A citywide coalition of Democratic party activists is organizing community outreach teams to challenge Mayor Anthony Williams and his million-dollar team of conservative pro Big Business Democrats. The organization is expected to endorse independent activist Robin Denise Ijames for Mayor, former Maryland Councilman, Arthur H. Jackson, Jr., for Council at-large, and Ward 6 candidate Keith Perry for Councilman. For information on joining The Citizens for Action Coalition, E-mail

Arthur H. Jackson Jr., a Ward 8 Democrat State Committeeman and longtime Democratic party activist, will announce his candidacy as a grassroots candidate for DC City Councilmember at-large in front of The Wingate Apartments, 4660 M. L. King, Jr., Avenue, SE, on May 25. The 700-unit apartment complex is the site of an organizing effort by tenants to purchase the building (contact Tenants Association President Robin D. Ijames at 563-6769). Arthur H. Jackson is a Consultant (pro bono) to the residents and says, “Ending the pushout of the poor, African American and Latino American District residents is a main focus of his campaign.”


James Treworgy, 

themail once again is full of people who thrill at the benefits of automated ticket writing and parking meter enforcement, and simply blame those who are paying the price for being lawbreakers in the first place. On the surface they might be right. In reality, the solutions do little to fix the problems. People overstay parking meters because there is nowhere to park. There are many places downtown where there simply is no garage parking available after 9:30 a.m. or so. So you're forced to park where you can. After looking for sometimes a half an hour for a parking spot, moving the car after two hours seems like a pretty bad idea. Yes, public transportation is a wonderful option, but it simply doesn't work for some people, for example those who must go from their client downtown directly to their client in Herndon. The problem is lack of parking. Raising fines will just cost people more; it won't create new places to park.

As for red light cameras, I guess nobody read the article from the Weekly Standard that was mentioned a couple weeks ago. Here, the problem is public safety. As the numerous references cited in the article show, the cameras have not been implemented to address this problem. They have been implemented to make money. If public safety was the concern, they would focus on making sure the yellows were timed properly, and actually put the cameras at unsafe intersections, not those with short yellow lights.


Me and My Car
John Whiteside, john at 

Dru Sefton asks, why do you need a car in the District? And she makes some great points. Many of us, though, face a harsh reality. The big employment centers of the metro area are increasingly not in the District. My job is in Tyson's Corner, and while I'd love not to have to drive there, the trip on Metro is an hour and a half to two hours, while the car commute is thirty to sixty minutes. If I didn't have that job I wouldn't be driving a 2001 vehicle, but I would probably still keep a beater around so that I could make those shopping trips to the suburbs so I could buy sundries at a store that actually keeps things in stock (unlike CVS) and buy more than two bags of groceries at once. (Why don't DC grocery stores offer delivery? When I lived in Boston, I could go to the Star Market at Prudential Center, buy a ton of groceries, and at the check out line say “deliver it!” and for a small fee they'd cart it all home for me right away. I was shocked not to find this service at stores here.)

That said, people do need to make choices. When I bought a home I knew there were certain neighborhoods where I had to have off-street parking, because I depended on my car, and that increased the price of housing for me in those areas. (Probably why I don't live in one!) I have to add the cost of the insurance and maintenance into my budget. I'm not complaining -- it's worth it to have the job I want and the mobility of the car — but when I hear of people who depend on their car moving to a place in Adams-Morgan without off-street parking, I think, “What were they thinking?” I saw some places there I would have loved to live in, but I knew that it wouldn't work for me because of the parking issue. Life is full of these little choices. You're happier if you think about them and choose wisely.


Parking Rant
Wendy Stengel, 

I've lived in DC for twelve years. I've had a car for three of those twelve years (1993-5, and now, since last July). During the car-free years I was solely dependent on public transit, and am, still, to a large degree. However, after all this time, I'm going to join the parking ranters. Got a parking ticket two nights ago. Seems that new “tow away, 7:00-9:30” signs went up on a street semi-near me within the last week. Since I got to the spot at 7:30, I was ticketed. I'm mildly peeved, but, hey, there was a (new) sign, and I guess one shouldn't assume that a parking spot which has been legal for at least a year will remain legal.

However, last night it took over an hour to find a parking spot in my Glover Park neighborhood. And frankly, it wasn't so much in my neighborhood. I had to park over half a mile away. On the long, dark walk home (thankfully, I was not alone), I passed so many out-of-District plates that I was seething. Is it too much to ask that I be able to find parking within a quarter mile of my home in a zoned neighborhood? Yes, if I were using public transit, it wouldn't be a problem. However, public transit doesn't run all the time, and my husband gets off work at a God- and transit-forsaken hour.


Buyer’s Agents Are Real Estate Agents
John Kelley, 

I just wanted to clarify for anyone who read the entry that advised staying clear of “buyer's agents” but possibly considering a “real estate agent.” As a real estate agent, I just wanted to make sure anyone interested in that topic understood that buyer's agents are licensed real estate agents. Due to relatively recent changes to laws and regulations, a licensed real estate agent can represent a buyer in a transaction, hence a “buyer's agent,” just as seller's have historically hired real estate agents to market and manage the sale of their properties. Many licensed agents today often work with some clients seeking homes and others who are selling their homes. It can prove quite valuable for a buyer, particularly someone new to the city or purchasing a first home, to have a representative of their choice represent their interests in the home search and not act merely a salesperson or cheerleader for any specific property. The complexities of home buying and selling are growing, not shrinking, as the market, regulations, and home options grow. Personally, I like working with buyers because I enjoy learning about and helping my clients achieve their objectives — neighborhood, lifestyle, price constraints, home tastes, and more. It is both a challenge and a reward to help a buyer succeed in a strong seller's market such as large portions of DC are currently experiencing.

As to the matter of hiring an agent or not when buying or selling, it depends upon the individual. I always explain to any potential clients during initial meetings that they may choose to represent themselves. I purchased my first home on my own prior to becoming an agent, with a good bit of advice from a helpful settlement agency (so I guess I did hire some assistance) to make sure I did not miss any critical steps or required disclosures or processes. The advantage I had was time, as I was on a leave of absence. Some people don't have the time due to the demands of career, family, and community; all the clients I have worked with certainly had the smarts to navigate the process on their own, if they had the time and resources to devote to the endeavor.

This is not a solicitation of any form and I am not trying to discount or counter the writer's own success in managing his real estate affairs. And I fully concur that good, honest agent are the ones to find (they exist in greater numbers than you might ever imagine). But I did want to clarify the factual point and explain some of the reasons a person might elect to use an agent.


DC Voting Rights Amendment: Waste of Time
David Sobelsohn, dsobelso@capaccessdotorg 

Just to reiterate why the currently proposed constitutional amendment for DC voting rights is a terrible waste of time: 1) The amendment is horribly drafted. It's long and disorganized. It uses language seen nowhere else in the Constitution. It even refers to a current federal statute. Constitutions and constitutional amendments should be written for the ages, not refer to repealable acts of Congress. (This is constitution-writing 101, folks.) 2) A constitutional amendment requires approval by 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states. DC statehood requires a majority of Congress, no votes in the states. If we can't get a majority in Congress to support statehood, we won't get 2/3 of Congress to support a constitutional amendment. If we can't get a majority in Congress to support statehood, we won't get 3/4 of the state legislatures to support a constitutional amendment. (Have any of the proponents of this amendment ever worked in a state legislature, especially one outside the DC area? The idea that the Nebraska state legislature would support this amendment, let alone the legislatures of Alabama or Utah or Oklahoma, is ludicrous. And it only takes 13 to kill it.) 3) We tried a constitutional amendment before, in the 1970s — a more progressive era. And that was a clear, simple, comparatively well-drafted amendment. It failed to get approval from more than a handful of states. George Santayana was right. 4) Any energy or thought that goes into this bad idea takes away energy and thought from the most expedient way to get full voting rights, and that is statehood. Even retrocession is an easier road than this.

Please stop wasting our time with misbegotten pipe dreams.


DC Equal Constitutional Rights Amendment
George S. LaRoche,

The proposal for a constitutional amendment put forward by Tim Cooper, Mark Richards, and Charles Harris is very interesting and gratifying detailed in its formal terms, but there are several reasons to have reservations about the proposal. The first and most critical reservation is that this proposed amendment, for the first time, would place the definition of the status of the residents of the District of Columbia into the text of the Constitution. The present Constitution does not define the status of District residents. The District Clause gives Congress a certain power over a certain place, but the status of the residents does not automatically or necessarily follow from this grant of power. Rather, the status of the residents of the District was defined by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1805. While his definition is logical in a certain light, it is not completely logical in other lights and, indeed, his definition was reversed by the Supreme Court as it applied to the enormous class of people who reside in the “federal enclaves” (places under precisely the same Clause of the Constitution as DC).

In other words, current treatment of the District is not mandated nor even indicated by the plain text of the Constitution. The present status of DC residents continues because of congressional choice, not because of Constitutional definition. Proof of this lies in the fact that Congress chose to cede (the former) Alexandria County back to Virginia without encountering any constitutional problems. Congress could do the same for the remainder of the District (at least all of it outside the small areas actually used by the federal government); better, it could admit the District as a state in its own right, without constitutional problem. So, at present, changing the status of District residents only requires a change in congressional treatment; it does not require a constitutional amendment. If this (or any similar) amendment passes, then any further change to the status of District residents would require further amendment to the Constitution. So we should look at such proposals as “terminal"”steps in the political welfare of District residents. They would tend to be the last step, the culmination, rather than stages on a process.

And this brings us to the second important consideration. While the present proposal appears wonderfully comprehensive and appears to present many advantages, the proposal is only that comprehensive and only presents those advantages as long as it remains in (something like) its present form. But there’s little or no chance that Congress won't alter the proposal in significant ways before passage. Indeed, the history of proposals to amend the Constitution -- especially when they are as complex as this one must be -- shows that Congress always alters the proposed language in significant ways. Once Congress reworks this proposal, District residents could find themselves in an even more strictly defined, inferior status than they find themselves now, made worse of course by the fact that this status would be ensconced in the Constitution, instead of just arising as a result of congressional treatment of the District. 

Thirdly, while this proposal appears wonderfully comprehensive, it is not. No matter how closely the proposed language is shaped to try to mimic state citizenship, it cannot replicate it for at least two reasons; one is that statehood entails a far more complex citizenship status than is or can be set out in this proposal; another is that statehood itself is a status in the evolving “federalism” relationship, so any fixed definition will deprive District citizens of the benefits of that evolutionary process. Fourthly, the actual terms of the proposal provoke more questions than they answer. For instance, the proposal is that DC residents “shall be treated as residents of a state for all constitutional intents and purposes, enjoying those same rights, powers and privileges as the people of the several states,” but such “intents and purposes” and “rights, powers, and privileges” are hotly debated in a significant number of cases which come through our courts every year. Under this Amendment, who's to define the “intents and purposes” and “rights, powers, and privileges?” Congress has tried to draft “federalism” legislation to do just this, but it always goes nowhere because the States and the President don't want Congress defining the issue. The President has issued proclamations and orders defining aspects of the federal/state relation, but these are also dead issues, for the States and Congress don't want the President defining the issues either. Rather, these issues are defined over time by all parties to the relationship, either through bargaining, inertia, or litigation (and, in any event, every State gets the benefits of another State's victory in the process, which would not be the case for the District under this proposal, since the District would still not be an actual State). Since the District would still not be a state or part of a state under this proposal, it would have to go to court regularly, on its own (and at great cost), to argue that Congress is not respecting substantially the “same” constitutional “intents and purposes” as it respects for the States.

And the District will certainly find itself in court regularly to challenge actions under the last grammatical clause of Section 2, in which it is said that Congress's powers under the District Clause will apply only within the National Capital Service Area and embassies, “except in the case of a compelling national interest[.]” Who's to define “a compelling national interest?” Congress already thinks that prevention of gay or lesbian domestic partnership is a sufficiently compelling national interest for them to have interfered with it and Congress already thinks that prevention of legalization of marijuana for medical use is a sufficiently compelling national interest for them to have interfered with it. So the proposal allows Congress to continue to do precisely what it does now, through this exceptional “back door.”

Finally (though I could fill several more pages with particular problems raised by this proposal), one might well wonder why we can expect Congress to pass and the necessary number of states ratify a constitutional amendment creating a special, completely novel status for the District of Columbia, which status might (according to this argument) place District residents in the same — but necessarily different — position as residents of a State, if the chances of getting statehood itself are so slim? Why are the chances of getting such an amendment so good, especially when it takes more political clout and effort to pass and ratify an amendment to the Constitution?

All this leads us to the ultimate question: why shouldn’t the people of the District of Columbia be in precisely the same position as the rest of the people of the country, enjoying the same privileges and immunities, rights and responsibilities, under precisely the same constitutional status as everyone else? Statehood (or retrocession) would place District residents in the status of being citizens of a state. From that status, follow all the rights and responsibilities, privileges and immunities we revere. The federal and state constitutions are all keyed to this fundamental status; without it, you’re outside the system of citizenship and government defined in those documents. Statehood (or being part of a state) is a complete solution, simple and well-defined. Why is it so hard to work for (either expression of) what everyone seems to agree is a comprehensive solution?


Spam, Spam, Spam
John Whiteside, john at logancircle dot net

I think the people who are less bothered by spam are probably the ones that don't get two hundred E-mails a day. I appreciate themail's privacy policy, but, as has been pointed out, bots that harvest E-mail addresses from web sites will pick up your address from themail archives. One solution is what I do -- look up by my name — disguise your address in a way that a human being can understand it and send you E-mail but a piece of software will be fooled. (Works well on Usenet too!)

As for filtering, as Gary suggests, it doesn't work very well (though it's not a bad idea). My suggestion is to use SpamCop ( It's free, it's not hard, and I have helped get spammers kicked off their ISPs with it. Which provides some momentary pleasure to make up for the annoyance!


Dan Tangherlini Lives!
Lorie Leavy, 

Apparently Dan Tangherlini actually does exist. Just a couple of weeks back I E-mailed him with a complaint about the parking lot Independence Avenue has become since the installation of all those new traffic signals between the Lincoln Memorial and 15th Street. More specifically, I asked him to look into the current timing of the signals, as the situation seems to have worsened in recent weeks. He responded just a few days later in quite friendly fashion, noting that there are DC/Park Service jurisdictional issues for that stretch of road but that he was sure something could be worked out. I found it to be a highly satisfying citizen-government interaction by any standards, let alone by DC's. It might be that the lack of response John Whiteside has experienced has to do with his misspelling of “Tangherlini.”


Dan Tangherlini, Threat or Menace?
Mark Eckenwiler, 

In the last issue, John Whiteside suggests that “Dan Taghlerini . . . doesn't really exist,” as demonstrated by the Division of Transportation head's alleged unresponsiveness. John is right: “Dan Taghlerini” doesn't exist. On the other hand, Dan Tangherlini most assuredly exists. More to the point, I have (in the course of numerous complaints, requests and suggestions) invariably found him polite, responsive, and eager to assist in solving problems. Granted, I can't say I'm batting 1.000 in having suggestions acted on, but I don't expect DDOT to run out and redesign an intersection at the drop of a hat. But DDOT under Dan is anything but “completely impervious to citizens,” as John alleges; if he doubts, he's welcome to check out the trees (and new tree boxes) installed on my block last year in response to my requests. Or John could write — politely, preferably — to, the working address I've had listed at the oft-plugged site for eons.

Disclaimer: I don't work for DC government, and Dan Tangherlini has no embarrassing photos of me. (In fact, my first dealings with Dan arose from a highly critical letter of mine printed in the Post; see ) I'm just a citizen gadfly who has dealt with enough municipal morons and layabouts to know that Dan is neither.


Masochists or Cowards
Kirsten Sherk, 

I didn't think I was a masochist ... but perhaps Mr. Suderow is? Unless he doesn't live in the District? And if he doesn't, is he on this list just to be able to have a target for pent-up venom? While I appreciate serious political criticism, his comment was so unnecessary and mean-spirited. Many of us have lived here for years and decades, growing up or raising families or generally making a difference in our neighborhoods (hooray for giving Ross Elementary a flagpole!) — I'd have DC any day over Giuliani's New York or Willie Brown's San Francisco, as much as I love either of those cities.


Beware the Blame Game, the Gift Horse, and Eating Cake
Len Sullivan, 

Washington “thought leaders” seem to be jumping on a dangerous fiscal bandwagon with the help of accountants and management consultants who should know better. Their “structural imbalance” theme song claims that DC's expenditures are too high and revenues too low because of the Federal Presence. Their goal is a return to dependency on annual federal payments to compensate for the awful burdens of hosting America's national capital and paying (a few) “state-level” costs. Have they got their numbers right? Have they fingered the right perpetrators? Have they got a solution consistent their urge for political independence? What would DC look like with a state house and no federal government? Would Montgomery County whine if the “monumental core” moved there? NARPAC's answers can be found in the May update of its web site at Think for yourself. Get positively involved.


May 2002 InTowner
Peter Wolff, 

This is to advise that the May 2002 on-line edition has been uploaded and may be accessed at Included are the lead stories, community news items and crime reports, editorials (including prior months archived), restaurant reviews (prior months also archived), and the text from the ever-popular “Scenes from the Past” feature. Also included are all current classified ads. The complete issue (along with prior issues back to February 2001) also is available in PDF file format by direct access from our home page at no charge simply by clicking the link provided. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it looks in print, including the new ABC Board actions report, all photos and advertisements.

The next issue will publish on June 14. The complete PDF version will be posted by early that Friday morning, following which the text of the lead stories, community news, and selected features will be uploaded shortly thereafter. To read this month's lead stories, simply click the link on the home page to the following headlines: (1) “Cardozo-Shaw, Logan Circle Joint Bid for Neighborhood Improvement Funds Granted”; (2) “P Street Revitalization on Track, Planning by Mayor's Office Underway”; (3) “Bloomingdale: A Unique Urban Experience, to be Revealed During June House Tour.”



Open Meeting on Healthcare Alliance
Rene Wallis, 

In case any of your folks are interested, DCPCA is hosting an open meeting on the Healthcare Alliance on May 16, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at Providence Hospital. It is geared toward health care professionals/advocates/others who are following the issue, working with vulnerable folks, and have some knowledge of health care systems. There will be a lot of information presented very quickly, and the conversation will include a lot of health care lingo (like all professions, health care has invented its own language!).

That being said, all are invited. DCPCA, like DC Watch, believes that an informed and engaged electorate is our best hope to improve life here in DC, and we are always looking for people who want to become engaged in improving the health care system to meet the needs of the medically vulnerable. If you want to attend, we would appreciate an RSVP E-mailed or faxed to 638-4557 or 638-4637.


Two Great Plays, Two Big Discounts
Robin Larkin, rlarkin@footlightsdcdotorg 

Footlights, the DC area's only modern-drama discussion group, will sponsor trips to see two plays in early June, both at a discount. One's a Tony award-winner, the other won the Pulitzer Prize, and the playwright will be there. "Side Man" (1998) is Warren Leight's poignant, Tony award-winning love ballad to his parents and to the forgotten world of big-band jazz. The performance takes place Sunday, June 2, 2:30 p.m., at Everyman Theater, 1727 N. Charles Street in downtown Baltimore. We can get you there and back. Our discount tickets are only $16, which includes a post-show discussion. “The Heidi Chronicles” (1988) is Wendy Wasserstein's funny, moving, Pulitzer prize-winning portrayal of the baby-boom generation from the radical 1960s through the mercenary 1980s. The performance takes place Wednesday, June 5, 7:30 p.m., at the Voice of America, 330 Independence Ave., SW (Federal Center SW Metro station). We'll be part of a live studio audience for an audiotaping for eventual worldwide broadcast on NPR and VOA. Our discount tickets are only $24, which includes a post-show discussion led by Wendy Wasserstein herself. Mail your checks, payable to “Footlights,” to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Court, Rockville, MD 20852 (301-897-9314 and For further information go to


Virtual Teams: Lessons Learned
Barbara Conn, 

Julia Loughran, President of ThoughtLink, Inc., leads a seminar on the most effective tools for online collaboration, and on the social, economic, and political effects of working virtually. Gather your questions and colleagues and bring them to the Saturday, May 18, 1:00 p.m., meeting of the Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) Entrepreneurs and Consultants Special Interest Group (SIG).

Meetings are free and are held each month, usually on the third Saturday, at the Cleveland Park Library (Second Floor Large Meeting Room) at 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW, just a block south of the Cleveland Park Metrorail station and half a block south of the Cineplex Odeon Uptown movie theater. For more information about the seminar, the speaker, and CPCUG, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization, and to register for the meeting, visit


Patricia Pasqual, 

Seattle did it. Chicago did it. And now it is Washington, DC's, turn to have a citywide book club, DC WE READ! Join your neighbors and friends at a book discussion or film screening of Having Our Say: The Delany Sister's First Hundred Years. This program which was organized by the DC Public Library aims to promote reading and community dialogue. Visit for up-to-date schedule of event changes and additions.

Moderator-led book discussions, with refreshments provided by Starbucks Coffee and Walkers Shortbread: June 3, 2:00 p.m., Chevy Chase. June 6, 3:30 p.m., Northeast. June 12, 6:30 p.m., Petworth. June 12, 6:30 p.m., Washington Highlands. June 13, 7:30 p.m., Palisades. June 18, 6:30 p.m., Takoma Park. June 22, 1:30 p.m., Watha T. Daniel. June 26, 2:00 p.m., Tenley.

Film screenings of "Having Our Say," a Kraft Premiere Movie produced by Camille O. Cosby and Judith Rutherford James. It stars Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee, and Amy Madigan. A production of Televest and Columbia Tristar Television (94 minutes). June 6, 2:00 p.m., Mt. Pleasant. June 11, 6:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, Room A5. June 12, 12:00 p.m., Washington Highlands. June 15, 12:00 p.m., Capitol View. June 17, 6:30 p.m., Watha T. Daniel. June 20, 3:00 p.m., Palisades. June 20, 7:30 p.m., Petworth. June 22, 2:00 p.m., Southwest. June 25, 7:00 p.m., Tenley. June 26, 2:00 p.m., Tenley.

June 25, 6:30 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, Lobby. DC We Read 2002 Finale: The Story After the Story. A'Leila Bundles, local noted author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, will engage journalist and writer, Amy Hill Hearth, in conversation about her relationship with the remarkable Delany sisters and about what happened to them after they were discovered!

June 26, 11:00 a.m., Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Room A5. Having Our Say: DC Centenarians Speak Out. Meet DC’s 100+ year-old residents as they recount the century with Amy Hill Hearth. This program is in cooperation with the DC Office on Aging.



Venues Wanted for Community Arts Project
Juliet Bruce, 

Arts for Life is a project of Institute for Transformation Through the Arts (ITA) that uses the power of creative self-expression to energize and transform the lives of individuals and communities. We send trained multidisciplinary teams of artists to host sites throughout the community, where they present, free of charge, 6-session creative arts workshops. Each session is based on a community-building theme: trust, sharing, belonging, giving, creating tolerance, and celebration. The project will launch publicly in September 2002 in observance of the anniversary of September 11. We are now seeking host sites throughout DC, Northern VA, and the MD suburbs to serve as venues for the community creative arts sessions. Mental health outreach centers, wellness clinics, hospitals, after-school programs, senior centers, youth programs, churches, libraries, shelters, and other community-based programs are encouraged to apply for this free service for your constituents. For information, call Dr. Juliet Bruce at 667-3766 or E-mail To find out more about ITA, please visit



DC’s Trees Need You
Parisa Norouzi, 

This outreach activity was postponed until this week; please join us. Distribute fliers and gather petition signatures regarding DC's Tree Crisis this Wednesday (15th), Thursday (16th) and/or Friday (17th), 7:30-9 a.m. and 5-6:30 p.m. at Metro stops throughout the District (such as Anacostia, Brookland, Eastern Market, Woodley Park, Minnesota Avenue).

Petitions will educate people about DC's tree crisis and gather signatures urging the Mayor to do everything he can to protect and restore DC's tree canopy. We need to get the word out about this problem, and get more people involved! Choose a day, time, and location that works for you; we will provide the materials! E-mail or call Parisa at 783-7400 x 107 to get involved; specify when and where you would like to go.


Foster Care Appreciation Month
Dona Jenkins, 

May is National Foster Care Month, and Mayor Williams has proclaimed May 2002 as Foster Parent Appreciation Month in the District. Each year, hundreds of men and women generously open their hearts and homes to the over 3,000 children and youth in need of a safe, secure and stable home with the compassion and nurturing of a foster family. Day and night, these families answer the call of local agencies to provide needy children with warmth, love, and a measure of security, and these foster parents have taken on the responsibility of providing our children with the love, dignity, and character they need to build self-esteem and become productive and successful individuals.

Thank you, and a thousand more times thank you! We still need District homes for children. If you care to foster or opt to adopt, don't delay, call us today at 671-LOVE.



Summer Camps Information
Susie Cambria, 

A terrific resource is back! The Greater Washington Urban League has published its 2002 Guide to Summer Camps and Enrichment Programs: A Ride to New Adventures. Get your free copy as long as supplies last. To obtain a copy or for more information, E-mail your mailing information to or call the Education Division at 265-8200, Ext. 254.

The 28-page booklet provides information on day and residential camps in the Washington metropolitan area along with registration information and fees. The publication also lists tips for suggesting the best camp for your child.



Ian Sheridan, 

I'm looking for a good used bike for sale. For a woman, about 5'4" and 125 lbs. Just a nice bike to get around town.


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